It’s Still Not Okay to Be Gay

Gay Pride Month Thoughts

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I’m sitting with friends having a light brunch and some bozo at the table says, “I’m not sure why Paul has to hide his sexuality, it’s so much easier to be out these days.” I sit on my hands and hold my tongue in a vice grip. People have this habit of wanting to brush over the truth to create their own sugar coated reality. The plain truth is that it is not so easy to be out of the closet in 2021. True there are pockets of the world where being gay is celebrated and respected; however, even in those places, it is complicated and uneven.

First, it’s important to note that being open about your homosexuality is against the law in certain parts of the world. You’d better hide it if you live in Brunei, Yemen, Somalia, or Iran. Death or imprisonment can be an almost certain deterrent. Come out to what I ask you? And if you don’t believe Americans are affected by what happens outside of the U.S. (and in some states), you are sadly mistaken.

“Same-sex sexual activity is a crime in 70 countries. Some of them, including six nations that are members of the United Nations, impose the death penalty. Another five make such punishment technically possible, even though it is rarely enforced. In 26 other countries, the maximum penalty is prison with terms varying anywhere from a few years to life imprisonment.” Hristina Byrnes  |  24/7 Wall Street, 2021.

Hence, the reason I hold my tongue. It’s nice to know I can marry a man in Portugal, but the reality that my gay brothers and sisters in so many other places, cannot, makes it difficult for me to celebrate. That guy screaming at my at 7:00 a.m. after Biden was elected, doesn’t help either.

“Why the fuck do you people need a parade anyway? Nobody cares.”

This vengeful serpent has many heads. When I go to a family wedding and family members are whispering about my sexuality, I can be out, I can be proud, I can even be partnered, but there is no way that I can say that I am content — nobody wants to be judged . . . least of all by my Christian aunties. Has it made me stronger? No doubt, I love being different, defiant, and getting all the attention has its appeal; however, I’d choose blending in with the wallpaper any day of the week.

Having cousin Ann say, “Aren’t you sick of hearing about gay rights?” That will never be okay.

We freer gays stand on the shoulders of individuals who have fought for basic rights for decades. I applaud and appreciate their efforts, but it isn’t over; it isn’t over by a mile. It was only months ago that transgender individuals were being told they could no longer serve in the military. And just because we have a new president and human rights and freedoms are being restored, does not guarantee one’s ability to serve in the future.

[I stopped writing yesterday; the anger and frustration were palpable. I needed perspective. I’m afraid it didn’t come.]

I’ve come to terms with who I am. I don’t apologize to anyone for it. I am no longer lamenting about what could have been: children, grandchildren, a 50th wedding anniversary. Coming to terms with the kicking and screaming that went on in my brain for decades, feels good. But I can’t help thinking about the kids everywhere who are tormented by their own questioning demons; when will they be relieved of their pain. As long as there are teens offing themselves because their being “fill-in-the-blank” does not fit into the “right” box, I cannot sit at the table and agree that coming out is easier.

“Shantay you stay.”

Rupaul

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